Arpad Mihaly got his start at the very bottom as a 18-year-old freedom fighter in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. As a refugee in Canada, his plans for an education were side-tracked and he spent nearly three years working underground in a British Columbian gold mine. By that time, he had saved enough to move back to Vancouver, taking jobs in restaurants and country clubs in order to learn the business.
Seeing the potential, one of his customers suggested he pursue formal education and training at San Francisco City College. While there he paid for his education working at the Fairmont Hotel and for Pan American Airways. He then applied and was accepted at the Hotel School, Cornell University, from which he graduated in 1967, again after financing his entire education. He joined Saga Corporation, distinguishing himself as a career-minded, goal-oriented manager. Again, another contact, seeing his potential, tapped him to set up a restaurant subsidiary for his own large corporation, which Mihaly successfully accomplished. In 1975 the opportunity arose for him to start his own foodservice management company, and his first bid attempt was successful against giants of the industry.
Eleven years later, he still serves that account (Ripon College) and has since expanded into the healthcare market. Mihaly has never been afraid of hard work and has never expected a hand-out of any kind. As a displaced person, he avoided the easy out of an ethnic ghetto, seeing the importance of blending into his new culture
Even today as president, he spends a good part of this day in the kitchen, working with and next to his employees. He offers benefits almost unheard of in the hospitality industry, benefits such as top health insurance, paid vacation and sick pay, holiday pay, disability and life insurance, and -- perhaps a key to the employment longevity of many of his loyal staff -- a profit-sharing plan financed by the company.